Tips to keep the house cool

Are you sweltering? You might be, since the Bay Area seems to be experiencing a mini-heat wave. (Much of the place is in the 80s, which is high for here at least. Now, Arizona … that’s a different story.) Well, the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings (via Care2) has a few tips for keeping your home cool while not completely draining your pocket when it comes to utility bills. Here are a few:

1) Keep doors and windows closed during the day to prevent unwanted heat and humidity from entering. By night, ventilate either naturally or with fans.

2) Cut your cooling load by using some conservation measures such as shading east- and west-facing windows and delaying heat-generating tasks such as dishwashing until the evening. (Hey, a reason to put off chores!)

3) Ceiling fans can make you feel more comfortable at higher thermostat settings. Try a sow-turning, ceiling-mounted paddle fan, which provides a breeze of about 2.5 feet per second or 1.7 miles per hour.

4) Planting shade trees around the house can offer relief, but remember not to plant on the south side if you’re seeking to benefit from passive solar heating come winter.

5) Ventilate at night and on cooler days, using window fans and an open window in each room. Keep interior doors open as well to permit air flow.

6) High-efficiency air conditioners with an energy-efficiency ratio above 10 are helpful. For central air conditioners, look for a seasonal energy-efficiency ratio higher than 12.

7) Finally, resist the urge to use a dehumidifier while your air conditioner is operating simultaneously. This will result in increasing the cooling load while forcing the air conditioner to work harder. This isn’t what you want!

Stay cool!

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com